US Destroyed Its Own $70M Aircraft in Doomed Raid

First mission of Trump era went wrong in several ways
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2017 9:52 AM CST
Raid in Yemen Seemed Doomed From the Start
Marine One, with President Donald Trump aboard, lands at Dover Air Force Base Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Trump visited Dover Air Force Base in Delaware Wednesday as the remains of a Navy SEAL killed in a Yemen raid were returned to the US, reports AP. William “Ryan” Owens was killed over the weekend during the first special-ops raid approved by Trump, and while early reports suggested that much went wrong in the mission, a slew of stories Thursday fill in details. The New York Times reports that Trump gave the go-ahead during a dinner that included advisers Steve Bannon, son-in-law Jared Kushner, defense chief Jim Mattis, VP Mike Pence, and national security adviser Michael Flynn. The newspaper wonders whether the right questions were asked, while Reuters, quoting anonymous military officials, reports that it was approved "without sufficient intelligence, ground support, or adequate backup preparations."

The raid, which was planned under President Obama, seemed doomed from the start: Somehow, militants got wind of it, perhaps reading low-flying drones as a clue. That led to a fierce firefight, in which women reportedly took up weapons with the militants, in the targeted village. At one point, a US MV-22 Osprey made a hard landing that left it disabled, and the American commandos intentionally blew up the $70 million aircraft so it wouldn't be captured, reports the Washington Post. US Central Command said it has "concluded regrettably that civilian non-combatants were likely killed" in the raid and is investigating. One of the victims was reportedly the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the late American-born al-Qaeda propagandist, reports the Guardian. The Times notes that Trump's national security team hopes to streamline decisions on such raids in the future. (More President Trump stories.)

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